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    DIRECTOR AND BOARD LEADERSHIP

     
    Research reveals need for increased boardroom awareness of guide 

    In 2007 HSE and the Institute of Directors (IoD) published guidance for directors and boards on how to take a proactive lead on health and safety. HSE has now published the results of research into the levels of boardroom awareness and use of the guidance. The main findings are:

    1. Awareness – 25% of organisations (with >4 employees) are led by directors that are aware of the guidance; 
    2. Reading – 13% of such organisations have looked at or read the guidance with half of this group also taking action;
    3. Response – positive comments came from the majority of those that had read the guidance. Negative comment tended to come from (a) the ‘committed’ who felt the guide provided nothing new and (b) smaller organisations who found it too complicated. 

    Comment: This research reports the awareness section of a two stage research project. The second stage is scheduled to examine the behaviour of directors and boards. The finding that only 13% of directors have ‘looked at or read’ the guidance gives support to the view that a voluntary approach to increasing director leadership will not be effective.

    However, the majority of those that had read the guide responded with positive comments and the researchers provide ideas on increasing awareness and penetration. Those that wish to avoid further legislation in this area will hope these ideas work and that the research on behaviour, to be reported later in 2009, reveals greater impact in the boardroom.     

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